To be effective, all entries to the Teach Them To Fish Foundation’s anthology book, The Greatest of All Times, Making a Difference Though Community Service, should be written in the first person. The first person will give your story or poem closeness and intimacy. Your story or poem must be about you and written by you. While authors are known for taking literary license, your entry must be 100% true. Use clear authorial voice. Speak from the heart. Make all of us feel hopeful, connected to you, and thankful for your hard work. Tug on the readers’ emotions. Make them cry, laugh, or get goose bumps.
Be careful about tenses. The present tense may take your breath away and create a sense of urgency; but, it is also limiting. The past tense gives you more flexibility as it provides distance from your community service. Do not write about politics or controversial issues. Write about your community service experiences and the impact it had upon you.
Start with action. Immediately, grab the readers’ attention. Tell your meaningful story. Pay attention to the holistic elements of your essay or poem such as structure, plot flow, characterization, and tone. Using the Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition, line edit your essay or poem to correct for typos and ensure consistency in grammar, punctuation, and spelling.
- Use a short title.
- Use your real name, not a pen name.
- Your essay or poem should be 1,200 words or fewer, excluding your title and name.
- Submit your essay or poem in English only.
- Do not use abbreviations of any kind, including your home state.
- Do not use email addresses, website URLs, or any other contact information such as telephone numbers and/or street addresses in your essay or poem.
- Do not ask readers to contact the organization where you provided your community service for additional information.
- Your story or poem must be original and not submitted for publication elsewhere.
- You must be a high school student.
- Seniors, you may submit your writing supplement or personal essay that you used on your Common Application, your Coalition Application, and/or directly to your college that does not use the Common or Coalition Applications, as long your essay or poem meets all of our other guidelines and has not been submitted for publication elsewhere. We do, however, suggest that you elaborate on your essay or poem and do not limit your entry to 650 words.
- You may only submit your story or poem on our website’s Submit Your Entry page. If you have problems submitting your work, please contact us at Submission@TeachThemToFish.org. We will reply to you as soon as possible.
- Regretfully, we are only able to accept a maximum of one hundred (100) stories or poems for publication. We will post accepted entries on your Selected Authors page as soon as we received, read, and judged a sufficient number of publishable stories or poems. We will not send rejection letters. We may, however, save your unpublished submissions for consideration for our future editions unless you withdraw your entry in writing by USPS, certified mail. You may find our mailing address on our Contact US page. Once we have selected your story or poem, however, you may not withdraw your entry for any reason whatsoever.
- Editorial changes and entry placement decisions are in the sole discretion of our editors. By submitting your entry, you consent to our publishing your entry in the Teach Them To Fish Foundation’s anthology book, The Greatest of All Times, Making a Difference Through Community Service and to any and all content and/or line editorial changes recommended and/or made by our editors.
- If your e-mail address changes, be sure to let us know by emailing us at Submission@TeachThemToFish.org.
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